The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 7. Originally published by W Bristow, Canterbury, 1798.
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LIES the next parish southward from Marden. The northern part of it, as far southward as the stream formerly called Risebridge river, which flows from Bedgebury to Hope mill, and a smaller part likewise on the other side of it, adjoining to the rivulet called the Bewle westward, is in the hundred of Marden, and lower division of the lath of Scray; the rest of the parish southward of the first-mentioned stream, is in the hundred of West, alias Little Barnefield, and lath of Aylesford, comprehending the whole of that hundred. So much of this parish as is within the borough of Faircrouch, is in the hundred of Cranbrook; as much as is in the boroughs of Pattenden, Lilsden, Combwell, and Chingley or Bromley, is in the same hundred of West, alias Little Barnefield; and the residue is in the hundred of Marden. It lies wholly within the district of the Weald, and in the division of West Kent.
The borsholders of the boroughs of Highamden, Pattenden, and Hilsden, in this parish, are chosen at the court-leet holden for the manor of East Farleigh, and the inhabitants owe no service but to that manor; only a constable for the hundred of West Barnefield may be chosen out of such parts of them as lay within it for that hundred. The manor of Maidstone likewise extends into this parish, over lands as far southward as Rise-bridge.
THE PARISH OF GOUDHURST is very pleasantly situated, being interspersed on every side with frequent hill and dale. The trees in it are oak, of a large size, and in great plenty throughout it, as well in the woods, as broad hedge-rows and shaves round the fields. The lands are in general very fertile; the soil, like the adjoining parishes, is mostly a deep stiff clay; being heavy tillage land, but it has the advantage of a great deal of rich marle at different places, and in some few parts sand, with which the roads are in general covered; and in the grounds near Finchcocks, there is a gravel-pit, which is the only one, I believe, in this part of the county. There is much more pasture than arable land in it, the former being mostly fatting lands, bullocks fatted on them weighing in general from 120 to 130 stone. It is well watered with several streams in different parts of it, all which uniting with the Teis, flow in one channel, along the western side of this parish, towards the Medway. The eastern and southern parts of it are much covered with thick coppice wood, mostly of oak. The turnpike road from Maidstone over Cocksheath through Marden, leads through the upper part of this parish southward, dividing into two branches at Winchethill; that to the left goes on to Comborne, and leaving the town of Goudhurst a little to the right, joins the Cranbrooke road a little beyond it. That to the right, having taken into it a branch of the Woodgate road from Tunbridge, near Broadford-bridge, goes on to the town of Goudhurst, and thence eastward to Cranbrooke and Tenterden; and the great high road from Lamberhurst through Stonecrouch to Hawkhurst, and into Sussex, south-east, goes along the southern bounds of this parish.
The parish is about eight miles long and four broad. There are about three hundred houses in it, and somewhat more than five inhabitants to a house. It is very healthy; sixty years of age being esteemed, if not the prime, at least the middle age of life; the inhabitants of these parts being in great measure untainted with the vices and dissipation too frequently practised above the hill.
THE TOWN, or village of Goudhurst, stands in the hundred of Marden, about half a mile within the lower or southern bounds of it, on an hill, commanding an extensive view of the country all around it. It is not paved, but is built on the sides of five different roads which unite at a large pond in the middle of it. The houses are mostly large, antient and well-timbered, like the rest of those in this neighbourhood, one of them, called Brickwall, belongs to the Rev. Mr. Thomas Bathurst. Within memory there were many clothiers here, but there are none now. There is some little of the woolstapling business yet carried on.
On the summit of the hill, on which the town stands, is the church, a conspicuous object to the neighbouring country, and near it was the marketplace, which was pulled down about the year 1650, and the present small one built lower down, at the broad place in the town near the pond. The market was held on a Wednesday weekly, for cattle, provisions, &c. till within memory; it is now entirely disused, there is a fair held yearly in the town, upon the day of the assumption of our lady, being August 26, for cattle, hardware, toys, &c. This market and fair were granted in the year of king Richard II. to Joane, widow of Roger de Bedgebury, the possessors of which estate claim at this time the privilege of holding them, by a yearly rent to the manor of Marden.
At the hamlet of Stonecrouch is a post-office of very considerable account, its district extending to Goudhurst, Cranbrooke, Tenterden, Winchelsea, Rye, and Hastings, and all the intermediate and adjoining places, to which letters are directed by this Stonecrouch bag.
ALMOST adjoining to the town eastward, on the road leading to Tenterden, there is A HAMLET, called LITTLE GOUDHURST, in which there is an antient seat, called TAYWELL, which for many generations was possessed by a family of the name of Lake, who bore for their arms, Sable, a bend between six crosscroslets, fitchee, argent. In the north isle of this church, under which is a vault, in which this family lie buried, there is a marble, on which is a descent of them. The last of them, Thomas Lake, esq. barrister-at-law, resided here, but dying without issue male, his daughters and coheirs became possessed of it; one of whom married Maximilian Gott, esq. and the other Thomas Hussey, esq. whose son Edward Hussey, esq. of Scotney, now possesses the entire see of this estate, which is demised for a long term of years to Mr. Olive, who has almost rebuilt it, and resides in it.
AT A SMALL DISTANCE southward from the abovementioned seat, is another, called TRIGGS, which was for several descents the residence of the Stringers, a family of good account in the different parts of this county. John Stringer, esq. son of Edward Stringer, of Biddenden, by Phillis his wife, daughter of George Holland, gent. resided here in king Charles I.'s reign, and married Susanna, daughter of Stephen Streeter, of Goudhurst, by whom he had Stephen, of Goudhurst; John, gent. of Ashford, who left a daughter and heir Mary, married to Anthony Irby, esq. Edward and Thomas, both of Goudhurst; the latter left two sons. Thomas and Edward, and a daughter Catherine, who married William Belcher, M. D. by whom the had Stringer Belcher, and other children. The Stringers bore for their arms, Per chevron, or, and sable, in chief two eagles displayed of the second, in the base a fleur de lis of the first.
Stephen Stringer, the eldest son of John, resided at Triggs in the reign of king Charles II. and was succeeded in it by his second son Stephen Stringer, esq. who kept his shrievalty here in the 6th year of queen Anne. He died without male issue, leaving by Jane his wife, daughter of John Austen, esq. of Broadford, four daughters his coheirs, Jane, married to Thomas Weston, of Cranbrooke; Hannah to William Monk, of Buckingham. in Sussex, whose eldest daughter and coheir married Thomas Knight, esq. of Godmersham; Elizabeth married Edward Bathurst, esq. of Finchcocks, and Anne married John Kirril, esq. of Sevenoke. (fn. 1) This seat was afterwards alienated to Francis Austen, esq. of Sevenoke, whose son Francis Mottley Austen, esq. of Sevenoke, is the present owner of it.
THE MANOR OF MARDEN claims over the greatest part of this parish; part of it, being the dens beforementioned, are within the manor of East Farleigh, and the remaining part, called Wincehurst-den, is within the manor of Gillingham, near Chatham. Although that part of this parish which lies within the hundred of West Barnefield, being the most southern part of it, contains those places which are of, by far, the greatest note in it, yet, for the sake of regularity in my description, I shall begin with those in the hundred of Marden, partly already described, and having finished that, proceed next to the hundred of West Barnefield, and the matters worthy of notice in it.
BOKINFOLD is a manor of large extent, situated in the hundred of Marden, having formerly a large park and demesnes belonging to it, which extended into the parishes of Brenchley, Horsemonden, Yalding, Marden, and Goudhurst, the house of it being situated in that of Yalding, in the description of which parish the reader will find an ample account of the former state and possessors of it. (fn. 2) It will, therefore, be sufficient to mention here, in addition to it, that the whole of this manor coming at length into the possession of Sir Alexander Colepeper. He in the 3d year of queen Elizabeth levied a fine of it, and three years afterwards alienated that part of this manor, and all the demesnes of it which lay in Brenchley, Horsemonden, Yalding, and Marden, to Roger Revell, as has been mentioned under the parish of Yalding, and THE REMAINDER OF IT in this parish, held of the manor of Marden, to Sharpeigh, whose descendant Stephen Sharpeigh passed that part of it away in 1582, to Richard Reynolds, whose son and heir John Reynolds, about the 41st year of queen Elizabeth, conveyed it to Richard Eliot, and he, about the year 1601, alienated it to Thomas Girdler, who the next year sold it to John Reynolds, and he, in the 5th year of king James, transmitted it to John Beale, who, about 1609, passed it away to John Harleston, of Ickham, and he settled it by will on Richard Harleston, who in like manner devised it to his kinsman Richard Bishop, and he, soon after the death of king Charles I. sold it to Mr. Stephen Stringer, of Triggs, in Goudhurst, whose son, of the same name, was sheriff anno 6 queen Anne, and left five daughters his coheirs, of whom Elizabeth, the third, married Edward Bathurst, esq. of Finchcocks, and on the division of their inheritance, he, in her right, became possessed of this manor. He died in 1772, upon which this estate came to his son, the Rev. Thomas Bathurst, rector of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire, the present owner of it. A court baron is regularly held for this manor.
In 1641 the archbishop collated Richard Amhurst, clerk, to the free chapels of Bockinfold and Newsted annexed, in the archdeaconry of Canterbury, then vacant and of his patronage. (fn. 3)
COMBORNE is an estate, situated in the northernmost part of this parish, adjoining to Winchet-hill, in the hundred of Marden likewise; which place of Winchet-hill was antiently the original seat in this county, of the family of Roberts, of Glassenbury.
An ancestor of this family, William Rookherst, a gentleman of Scotland, left his native country, and came into England in the 3d year of king Henry I. and had afterwards the surname of Roberts, having purchased lands at Winchet-hill, on which he built himself a mansion, calling it Rookherst, after himself. This place came afterwards to be called Ladiesden Rokehurst, alias Curtesden, and continued the residence of this family till the reign of king Richard II. when Stephen Roberts, alias Rookherst, marrying Joane, the daughter and heir of William Tilley, of Glassenbury, removed thither, and the remains of their residence here are so totally effaced, as to be known only by the family evidences, and the report of the neighbourhood.
But their estate at Winchet-hill continued several generations afterwards in their descendants, till it was at length alienated to one of the family of Maplesden, of Marden, in whose descendants this estate, together with that of Comborne adjoining, continued down to Edward Maplesden; esq. of the Middle Temple, who died in 1755, s. p. and intestate. Upon which they descended to Alexander Courthope, esq. of Horsemonden, the son of his sister Catherine, and to Charles Booth, esq. the grandson of his sister Anne, as his coheirs in gavelkind, and on a partition of those estates between them, Winchet-hill was allotted to Charles Booth, esq. afterwards Sir Charles Booth, of Harrietsham-place, who died possessed of it, s. p. in 1795, and his devisees, for the purposes of his will, are now in the possession of it; but Comborne was allotted to Alexander Courthope, esq. since deceased, whose nephew John Cole, esq. now possesses it.
FINCHCOCKS is a feat in this parish, situated within the hundred of Marden, in that angle of it which extends south-westward below Hope mill, and is likewise within that manor. It was formerly of note for being the mansion of a family of the same surname, who were possessed of it as early as the 40th year of Henry III. They were succeeded in it by the family of Horden, of Horden, who became proprietors of it by purchase in the beginning of king Henry VI.'s reign, one of whom was Edward Horden, esq. clerk of the green cloth to king Edward VI. queen Mary, and queen Elizabeth, who had, for some considerable service to the crown, the augmentation of a regal diadem, added to his paternal coat by queen Elizabeth. He left two daughters his coheirs, Elizabeth, married to Mr. Paul Bathurst, of Bathurst-street, in Nordiam, and Mary to Mr. Delves, of Fletchings, who had Horden for his share of the inheritance, as the other had this of Finchcocks. He was descended from Laurence Bathurst, of Canterbury, who held lands there and in Cranbrooke, whose son of the same name, left three sons, of whom Edward, the eldest, was of Staplehurst, and was ancestor of the Bathursts, of Franks, in this county, now extinct, (fn. 4) of the earls Bathurst, and those of Clarenden-park, in Wiltshire, and Lydney, in Gloucestershire; Robert Bathurst, the second, was of Horsemonden; and John, the third son, was ancestor of the Bathursts, of Ockham, in Hampshire. Robert Bathurst, of Horsemonden above-mentioned, by his first wife had John, from whom came the Bathursts, of Lechlade, in Gloucestershire, and baronets; and Paul, who was of Nordiam, and afterwards possessor of Finchcocks, from whose great-grandson William, who was a merchant in London, descended the Bathursts, of Edmonton, in Middlesex. By his second wife he had John, who was of Goudhurst, ancestor of the Bathursts, of Richmond, in Yorkshire. In the descendants of Paul Bathurst before-mentioned, this seat continued down to Thomas Bathurst, esq. who by his will devised this seat and estate to his nephew Edward, only son of his younger brother William, of Wilmington, who leaving his residence there on having this seat devised to him, removed hither, and rebuilt this seat, at a great expence, in a most stately manner. He resided here till his death in 1772, having been twice married, and leaving several children by each of his wives. By his first wife Elizabeth, third daughter and coheir of Stephen Stringer, esq. of Triggs, he had three sons, Edward, who left a daughter Dorothy, now unmarried, and John and Thomas, both fellows of All Souls college, in Oxford, the latter of whom is now rector of Welwyn, in Hertfordshire. Before his death he conveyed this seat and estate by sale to his son by his second wife, Mr. Charles Bathurst, who on his decease in 1767, s. p. devised it by will to his brother, the Rev. Mr. Richard Bathurst, now of Rochester, the present possessor of it. This branch of the family of Bathurst. bore for their arms the same coat as those of Franks, in this county, and those of Cirencester, Lydney, and Clarendon, viz. Sable, two bars, ermine, in chief three crosses pattee, or, with a crescent for difference; but with a different crest, viz. Party per fess, and pale, a demi wolf argent, and sable, holding a regal crown, or; which I take to be that borne by Edward Horden, whose heir Paul Bathurst, their ancestor, married, and whose coat of arms they likewise quartered with their own.
AT NO GREAT DISTANCE from Finchcocks, in the same hundred, lies a capital messuage, called RISEDEN, alias GATEHOUSE, which formerly belonged to a family named Sabbe, one of whom, Simon Sabbe, sold it, before the middle of the last century, to Mr. Robert Bathurst, from whom it descended down, with an adjoining estate, called TRILLINGHERST, to another Robert Bathurst, who died in 1731, and lies buried in this church, whose daughter Mary sold them both to Sir Horace Mann, bart. the present possessor of them.